Why you need to gain shadowing experience and how to get one!

Compas Chambers, Edinburgh


My dear colleagues, I would like to encourage you seek out a shadowing experience at the very beginning of your legal studies.

Not all Chambers publicise information about possibilities to get practical experience for law students.

The Chamber that I personally recommend for students in Scotland is beautiful Compass Chamber, situated in The Faculty of Advocates Parliament House, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF.

To apply, all you need do is to email them with a shadowing enquiry, book some days off work in diary and wait for news! You might need to wait few weeks or few months. As Compass Chamber is open for student, they want to show the best possible moment during any given case . You will be placed before or as a case is starts. You will be lucky enough to know few details of the case before you have the opportunity to listen the to performance in the courtroom. You might even get to shadow an international dispute between few parties with business related matter.

Stay calm and be prepared to listen. You will be shadowing someone as they carry out their professional duties and need to make sure that you’re not distracted; your experience will inform your future decisions.

Watching someone who has many years’ experience practicing law is incredible. You’ll be able to see how their day is planned for the case you shadow and what a law diary looks like. You will also have the opportunity to see the best verbal as well as the behaviour required in a courtroom. It is truly intellectual experience, which will teach you the sense of responsibility held by those in the legal profession. You may even see a scenario you’ve never even seen in a film or book.

Making a conversation with barrister before the case will give you greater insight and help you get more involved in the examination of facts.

Aside from your learning on the day, simply knowing the courthouse, the rooms and knowing your way around will prepare you for the next time you are there, perhaps as a pupil or barrister and give you the confidence you need to take the next steps in your career!

No matter where you live try to secure a shadowing experience. If your local chambers don’t advertise shadowing opportunities, don’t give up before you won’t try! It is always worth writing to Chambers to see if they can do something to help you. Follow your intuition and think about what you know.

I undertook my shadowing experience whilst working full time and studying full time! It may be difficult but you can do it! If you need additional support The Open University law department will be on your side to help you make steps towards getting additional experience. Don’t be put off by being new to law, or by be ashamed if you’re a mature student- we all need this experience!

The first step is to try. If you’re like me you’ll be very happy once you get confirmations – I began to think anything is possible!

I wish you a good luck!

Written by:
Anna Augustyn – OULS News Reporter


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